Getting an exemption by the NCAA to be eligible immediately has given the players a second chance and this week Staples is hoping that pays off when he takes an official visit to see the Auburn Tigers.
“It’s going to be a good experience just to see how they work and how the coaches are and just the different facilities that kind of stuff,” the 6-4, 190 Staples said. “It’s kind of big for me.
“My sophomore year wasn’t the year that you expect to have in college football at all,” he added. “It has been rough on the coaches and the players, but tough people last through tough times. We’re all trying to make the best of it and find new homes. Some people are staying at UAB to continue their education while others are moving on to continue their careers.”
Originally from Ashland, Ala., Staples was a star football and basketball player for the Panthers as a youngster until the school merged with rival Lineville for his senior season. The stellar play continued for Central-Clay County High when he earned first-team Class 4A all-state honors, catching the eye of several programs including UAB.
Staples was a standout for the Volunteers as a senior
Playing right away for the Blazers in 2013, Staples proved to be a steal of the recruiting class. Finishing second on the team with 31 catches for 458 yards, he added four touchdowns in his eight starts. With a tough second season in the Magic City finishing with the ending of the program, Staples said he’s happy to be getting a second opportunity without having to sit out next year.
“It’s just a blessing,” Staples said. “God gave us another opportunity to not miss a year to further our careers. I just look at it as a blessing.”
Now with an opportunity to continue playing the game he loves, Staples sees a great opportunity at Auburn with Sammie Coates declaring for the NFL Draft and fellow junior Duke Williams a strong possibility to do so as well. With Quan Bray graduating as well that leaves a void for the Tigers at wide receiver, something he hopes to do something about if he gets an offer from Auburn.
“I feel like I can come in right off the bat and just play my game,” Staples said. “I like making plays so that’s what I try to do. If they need a big-play receiver then I’m the guy for them.
“I have some offers already from Louisville and Florida,” he added. “Those are my biggest two. “It (An Auburn offer) would mean a lot. It’s a big process about where I feel like I fit in the best, but it would mean a lot to me because it’s close to home so my family could get to the games. It would mean a lot to me.”